Chinese company marks Children's Day with Ethiopian school children

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ADDIS ABABA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese construction giant China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on Wednesday celebrated Children's Day by inviting Ethiopian school children to visit a local railway station and create awareness among them.

The CCECC along with the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Standard Gauge Share Company (EDR) on Wednesday organized a visit for a group of students from Jemo No. 2 Elementary School to the Furi-Lebu Railway Station in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, as part of the Children's Day celebrations.

"Today is International Children's Day and as part of our social responsibility, we have invited lots of students to pay a visit to our station and help them experience railway service," Huang Yupeng, manager of freight at the Furi-Lebu Railway Station, told Xinhua.

The visit was said to be part of an effort to create a sense of belongingness among the school children and the community living along the railway route.

"It is also a good time to sow hope in the hearts of the children that this railway is theirs and they would protect like their eyes in the future," said Huang.

The Addis Ababa-Djibouti electrified railway, also known as the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, contracted by China Rail Engineering Corporation (CREC) and CCECC for construction, is the first transboundary railway on the African continent. It is a flagship project of China-Ethiopia cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

According to the EDR, the electrified railway has cut the transportation time for freight goods from more than three days to less than 20 hours and reduced the cost by at least one-third.

"I have never thought that a train has such a wide space internally and operates in electric power," said Kidist Mekuria, one of the 38 students who happened to visit the station for the first time.

"The visit was so important because our students have gained knowledge about the historical background and overall operation of the railway," said Zenebech Banjaw, the deputy director of the Jemo No. 2 Elementary School.

The majority of residents living along the route are often said to have little knowledge about the railway service as the electrified railway involving new technology is something new in Ethiopia.

Three months ago, Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway commenced a commuter train service with 19 stations to help residents of communities along the route enjoy the railway service.

"The community living along the route has little knowledge about the railway service and sometimes they move along the rail along with their cattle," said Banjaw, adding Wednesday's event will help the community refrain from doing the same through the students. Enditem

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